UConn Student Life
Campus life and politics.
Rising Population and High Cost of Living Drive Students Off-Campus
Daily Campus, Oct. 2016
A 45 percent increase in student enrollment at the University of Connecticut over the past 20 years has shifted the burden of student housing onto the Mansfield community, Rebecca Shafer, co-founder of the Mansfield Neighborhood Preservation Group, said.
The number of undergraduate and graduate students at UConn has increased from 17,666 to 25,653, excluding the colleges of law, medicine and dentistry, since the fall of 1996, according to the MNPG’s website. Only 70 percent, or 11,295, of UConn’s 18,826 undergraduate students in Storrs live on campus, according to the 2016 UConn Fact Sheet.
The remaining 30 percent of undergraduates, and all 6,827 graduate students, have crowded into apartments and single family rentals, disrupting Mansfield and neighborhoods in the surrounding area, Shafer said.
“Students by nature are transient because they’re here for four years and then they leave, so it changes the character of the neighborhood. It’s like if you put in a hotel,” Shafer said.
The demand for student housing has caused investors to start converting homes into rentals at an alarming pace, Shafer said, destabilizing neighborhoods and pushing properties beyond the price range of families that would normally live there.
Ain't no party like a Storrs Road party: Town discusses tensions of student housing after house party shuts down Storrs Road
Daily Campus, Oct. 2016
"Of all the single-family rentals housing University of Connecticut students in Mansfield, just 3.5% were responsible for all 39 citations issued to disruptive student households in the spring 2016 semester, said assistant planner and zoning enforcement officer Janell Mullen at a Town and University Relations Committee meeting on Tuesday.
The “whack-a-mole” pop-up parties hosted by this minority of students culminated in a massive house party at 940 Storrs Road last weekend that temporarily shut down Route 195 and trashed the property of an adjacent church, Mayor Shapiro said.
“Most of the UConn students are good kids, most of them respect themselves and respect their neighbors. A relatively small percentage of the students are a disproportionately large percentage of the problem,” Shapiro told the committee.
In many of these cases, the town committee noted that the landlords are not Mansfield residents. “Problematic properties often have non-local owners who are less responsive to the needs of neighbors,” Mullen said."
Increase in Overnight Parking Causes Commuter Crunch
Daily Campus, Sept. 2016
Increased use of commuter permits to authorize overnight parking has resulted in an apparent reduction of parking capacity for use by daily commuter students, said Parking Services manager Dwight Atherton.
Parking Services will be adding additional overnight residential parking to Hilltop Apartments this week and is also evaluating the possibility of converting underutilized Area 2 employee parking spaces into residential parking in D-Lot to alleviate this issue, Atherton said in an email interview Thursday.
“These changes should help reduce the effects of the commuter parking constraints on W-Lot and on the parking areas along Horse Barn Hill Road,” Atherton said. “Although most people think of the University’s parking system as being very static, it morphs and changes very rapidly. Parking Services works to change dynamically to adapt to the needs of all members of our University.”
Student permit sales have increased by 1.36 percent this year to about 9,000, meaning there are about 130 more permitted student vehicles, Atherton said.
Apartment Development Moratorium Could Be Turning Point for Off-Campus Housing
Daily Campus, Sept. 2016
Mansfield’s ongoing moratorium on multi-family housing developments could result in significant policy changes for off-campus students, said Undergraduate Student Government president Dan Byrd.
The Mansfield Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved a nine-month moratorium on apartment complex development applications on Tuesday. The moratorium is designed to give the commission time to update existing multi-family housing regulations to align with the town’s plan of conservation and development, committee member Kenneth Rawn said at the meeting.
Attorneys Susan Hays and Jeffrey Resetco, representing housing developers Wilmorite and EdR respectively, told the commission the moratorium could delay construction of new multi-family housing in the Mansfield area by up to two years.
“I’m less concerned about the moratorium than I am about the actual policies coming out of it,” said Byrd, a 7th-semester political science major.
A lack of new apartments could push University of Connecticut students into more single-family rentals, Byrd said, but the commission has the opportunity to address this issue by exempting multi-family housing from the limit on student renters. This would save students money and encourage them to leave residential neighborhoods, he said.